Image of Curly’s Wife in the Book “On Mice and Men”

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In the book Of Mice and Men Curley’s Wife wanted to feel like she was special, and that she was able to be something bigger than she was on the ranch. Steinbeck made it seem like she was trying to convince herself more than the reader that she can achieve her goals. Her family keeps getting in the way of her dreams. In Chapter 5 Curley’s Wife finds Lennie alone in the barn. She started to talk to Lennie and told him of her dreams.

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She told him she lived in Salinas with her mom and dad. She told him that a traveling show or circus came to her town, she met one of the actors, and he told her that she was a natural actress and should join them. But since she was so young her mother wouldn’t let her go. She tells him she met another man, who she went dancing with. He told her he was going to put her in the movies. He said he would send her a letter she never got one back. She then explains how she could’ve been famous, how she could’ve had nice clothes, lived in a nice house, and she could’ve had pictures taken of her. She says the only way she was able to escape her parents was by running away with Curley. She told Lennie that she believed that was the only way to out, but she doesn’t like Curley, he isn’t a nice person.

We can say her dream is an American dream, because the American dream is about opportunity, success, and ideals of freedom, achieved by hard work and dedication. Her dream was shattered by society and the people around her. Steinbeck used Curley’s Wife as an example of how people were treated in this time period. “I get lonely,” she said.”You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley,” said Curley’s Wife (Steinbeck 87). Her dream is important because it shows that she has a reason behind the way she acts, for example painting on red nails, flirting, and curling her hair. Curley’s Wife represents the role of women during the time period this book took place.

During this time period, women were thought to be trophies or property. Steinbeck proves this theory by how she is referred to as Curley’s Wife, and doesn’t have her own name. Curley proves this more when she dies. He isn’t upset that she died because he loved her, he’s upset because it messed with his social status, and how people perceived him after her death. She also represents loneliness, by being the only female on the ranch and not be allowed to talk to others. Curley’s wife in the book feels very alone most of the book and she needs validation from someone else to help her Elise her dream is achievable.

Curley’s Wife’s dream was not achievable. Being a female in the 1930’s was really difficult, men always got jobs first and women were often viewed as property or trophies. When Curley’s Wife was 15 a man told her he was going to put her in the movies. This man most likely never had any intention of putting her in the moves. He was just trying to take advantage of her. Curley’s Wife thought her mother stole the letter, and in spite of this she got mad and married Curley so she could escape. From there she gets isolated on the farm by other men and Curley, because the other men are scared of what she can do to them.

Due to the boundaries of society she wasn’t able to pursue her dream. Her dream is unachievable because she has secluded herself to an unwanted marriage to Curley. Curley would never let his wife leave him and pursue her dreams individually. ‘I tell you I ain’t used to livin’ like this. I coulda made somethin’ of myself.’ She said darkly, ‘Maybe I will yet.’ And then her words tumbled out in a passion of communication, as though she hurried before her listener could be taken away. ‘I lived right in Salinas,’ she said. ‘Come there when I was a kid. Well, a show come through, an’ I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show. But my ol’ lady wouldn’t’ let me. She says because I was only fifteen. But the guy says I coulda. If I’d went, I wouldn’t be livin’ like this, you bet,’ said Curley’s Wife (Steinbeck 88).

Her marriage with Curley has stopped her from pursuing her dreams, and because of her marriage she has lost her freedom. Freedom is a big role to the American dream, now that she has lost it by marrying Curley her dream is unachievable. Steinbeck was trying to tell us that Curley’s Wife really believed in the American Dream. He also told us that most women wanted to become famous actress or singer and that was the American Dream for them.

Most men wished for a steady income and a property of their own. For some it was to join the military. To have honor for protecting the country, which they live in. For some other women it was to be a housewife and to be the best one possible. Curley’s Wife fit into the first category wanting to become a famous actress she hated the ranch life. Her dream was once achievable with all the opportunities she was given to join the show and get a written letter from the man. Once she married Curley to escape, her dream became unobtainable because she was now isolated from everyone but Curley. Her dream is also no longer obtainable because she gets killed by Lennie in chapter 5.

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Image of Curly's Wife In the book "On Mice and Men". (2021, Nov 29). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from
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